Personality And Compassion

How compassionate are you? What are your compassion strengths and weaknesses? How does your personality impact your ability to practice compassion?

If you’ve ever completed a personality or strengths assessment, now’s the time to fetch your results and identify your signature strengths (and weaknesses).

Compassion requires three skills; openness, resourcefulness, and persistence. Openness creates a safe space where the real issues can be surfaced. Resourcefulness creates a curious space where creative problem-solving can happen. Persistence creates a consistent space where boundaries and principles are honored.

Each skill if necessary but not sufficient for full compassion. Our Compassion Cycle shows how these three skills work together, in order, to practice full compassion.

Here’s a list of typical personality-based strengths that correspond to each compassion skill.


  • Sensitive
  • Warm
  • Reflective
  • Calm
  • Spontaneous
  • Playful


  • Creative
  • Organized
  • Logical
  • Observant
  • Adaptable
  • Charming
  • Imaginative


  • Dedicated
  • Conscientious
  • Responsible
  • Persuasive

Comparing results from your own assessment, where is the most alignment? Where is the least alignment? What areas do you need to develop to practice fuller compassion?

The good news is that any personality type can start somewhere with their strengths. The bad news is that no personality type is singularly equipped for full compassion. So we all need to stretch ourselves and learn new skills if we want to grow in compassion.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Start building out your compassion skills with The Compassion Mindset online course.

Read More

How To Help Different Personality Types Navigate Crisis and Uncertainty

Different personality types navigate crisis differently. Personality exerts tremendous impact on how people take in and process information, how they are motivated to take appropriate action, and how they experience it emotionally. Recognizing this can help leaders craft the most effective response plans to minimize panic and maximize problem-solving.

Here are tips to help different personalities navigate crisis.

Thinkers are natural planners.

They want to know the facts, ratios, risk estimates, and data-maps. They crave control, so they struggle with the uncertainty associated with a rapidly changing landscape. Their value in times of crisis is organizational and planning.

Help Thinkers by:

  • Providing up to date, accurate information.
  • Giving them as much advance notice as possible for any changes.
  • Letting them work on plans and solutions.
  • Support them in dealing with the natural feelings associated with loss of control.

Persisters are natural protectors.

They want to know the meaning, purpose and impact of what’s going on. They crave consistency and security, so they struggle with the danger that crisis poses to the people and organizations under their watch. Their value in times of crisis is keeping an eye on the big picture.

Help Persisters by:

  • Supporting their need to clarify priorities and big-picture impact.
  • Validating their convictions and commitments.
  • Telling the truth.
  • Supporting them in authentically experiencing the fear associated with uncertainty.

Harmonizers are natural caregivers.

They want to nurture relationships and connections and make sure everyone is okay. They crave emotional connection, so they struggle with the strain that crisis and uncertainty put on relationships, not to mention the pain it causes. Their value in times of crisis is their ability to nurture others.

Help Harmonizers by:

  • Telling them you care about them.
  • Sharing emotions and offering emotional support.
  • Enlisting their support to provide nurture and comfort to those who are suffering.
  • Supporting them when they express anger about how crisis and uncertainty affects the people they love.

Rebels are natural funsters.

They want to express themselves freely and engage creatively with the world. They crave unstructured time to be creative, so they struggle with the limitations that crisis can place on their environment. Their value in times of crisis is their ability to keep things from getting too serious and gloomy.

Help Rebels by:

  • Supporting their playful and humorous style of dealing with stress.
  • Enlisting their creative problem-solving to find novel solutions.
  • Avoiding overly-regimented environments when possible

Imaginers are natural dreamers.

They want to reflect and exercise their imaginative capabilities. They crave time and space without interruptions to recharge, so they struggle with the increased social interactions that often accompany rapid change during crisis. Their value in times of crisis is to keep calm and imagine the possibilities.

Help Imaginers by:

  • Giving them time and space to reflect.
  • Enlisting their imagination to find innovative solutions.
  • Giving them explicit directions on what to do.     

Promoters are natural doers.

They want to take action and seize opportunity. They crave the excitement of challenge and risk, so they often embrace crisis and uncertainty, but they often lose sight of the emotional connections and impact. Their value in times of crisis is their ability to see opportunity and take decisive action.

Help Promoters by:

  • Directing them to take appropriate action.
  • Enlisting their help to find and seize opportunity.
  • Reminding them of the human side of crisis and uncertainty.

According to research by Dr. Taibi Kahler embodied in the Process Communication Model®, all humans have all six types in them, arranged in a preferred, set order. One of these types primarily influences how we take in and process the world and how we prefer to interact. One of the types in us determines our primary motivational needs and how we go into distress when those needs aren’t met in healthy ways every day. Knowing this and taking care of our unique personality helps us be more resilient during stress and helps us support others in the best way possible.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Find out your PCM personality structure and get a VIRTUAL one-hour debrief with a Next Element PCM coach. Learn about your primary motivational needs, how you go into distress when those needs aren’t met, and how to take care of yourself so you become more resilient during stress.

Bring the intelligence of PCM to your leaders with our VIRTUAL training course. Call for details.

Join the launch team for my new PCM book, Seeing People Through, coming out in July 2020.

Read More

Two Mistakes That Will Kill Your Employee Recognition Program

This SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey found that less than 30% of employees surveyed were satisfied with their organization’s recognition efforts. Among organizations who had a formal recognition program, less than 50% were satisfied.

How can it be that even among organizations who are making the effort and have good intentions, less than half of their employees are satisfied?

Two mistakes can kill even the best-intentioned recognition efforts; Focus on recognition instead of motivation, and selective hearing which leads to prejudice. (more…)

Read More

Improving the Optics

In 2010 Ben Zimmer published an article in the New York Times called “Optics”, where he described the phenomenon where politicians fret about the public perception of a decision more than the substance of the decision itself. Of course, elected officials have worried about outward appearances since time immemorial, but optics puts a new spin on things, giving a scientific-sounding gloss to P.R. and image-making.

I watch a lot of cable news. I admit, I’m a glutton for punishment. Watching the anchors, the interviews, and the spin factory is a study in personality and drama. It’s also a study in Optics – perception management.

Long before Ben Zimmer and the New York Times, a psychiatrist named Taibi Kahler was researching how human personality influences how we perceive the world around us and filter our experiences. Kahler discovered six distinct perceptual filters that color our optics. He associated these filters with a “currency” of communication – the legal tender that influences how people conduct transactions and influence each other. It’s how they listen and engage with, or tune out and turn against, the message and the messenger. Which currency is your strongest optical lens?


If it’s logical, I’m in. I listen to facts and I’ll fact-check everything. I will listen to you if you can back it up with data. I’ll tune you out if you aren’t rational. It’s not called flip-flopping, it’s called “adjusting based on the information.”


If it connects with my beliefs, I’m in. You had me at “loyalty and patriotism.” If it seems inconsistent, willy nilly, or devoid of strong convictions, I’m out. You lost me at “I changed my mind because of new information.”


If what your saying resonates with my sense of community, family, and care for others, I’ll listen. If you don’t seem to care about the people-impact, I assume you are mean and uncaring. I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.


If it’s clever, funny or grabs my attention, I’m in. If it’s bland or infected with research and moral mumbo-jumbo, I’m outa here. Bright shiny objects, here I come!


Show me you can be reflective and open-minded and I’ll consider your perspective. If you push me to accept simplified black and white interpretations, I’ll check out because it shows me you don’t have the imagination to solve the big, messy problems.


Wow me. Sell me. But don’t manipulate me. If you show me a way to be part of something amazing, I’ll be your agent! If you try to corner me, play me, or take advantage of my insecurities, I’ll be your worst enemy. I might even call Omorosa.

Optics matter more than reality. Often it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference. Who are you talking to, and how are they experiencing your message? We have data on what percentage of the population uses each perceptual filter. Happy to share; just give us a call.

Join a Next Element PCM seminar to learn how to recognize you own optical illusions and improve your vision for what’s going on around you. Learn how the strategies used by a past president, a top military general, a Pixar Studios movie director, and a NASA chief psychiatrist can transform how you communicate.

Read More

Six Bad Habits You Can Repurpose For Good in 2018: Part One

Have you made any new year’s resolutions to kick an unhealthy habit and set a new course? What if your worst bad habits were linked to your personality? Good luck with that!

It could actually be a blessing in disguise. The bad news is that most of us have some pretty enduring bad habits that have been with us since an early age, closely tied to our personalities. For example, my personality is highly tuned to focus on tasks and excitement. I’m fun to be around and I get stuff done. My bad habit is I’m a terrible listener. I focus much more on my own agendas than the people around me, so I miss stuff.

The good news is that behind every bad habit are some awesome character strengths that can be leveraged for good. (more…)

Read More
Dov Baron: Leadership and Loyalty Show


I recently had the privilege of presenting a pre-conference workshop, breakout session, and plenary session for the 2017 Kansas Conference on Poverty. It was a terrific experience sharing the message of compassionate accountability and leveraging personality differences to a passionate audience seeking to end poverty in our state.

I was pretty excited about making a positive impact until I heard Glenn Martin speak. Wow! Talk about putting things into perspective. Have you ever felt like others were making a bigger difference than you, like others were doing really important work compared to yours? Have you ever felt your efforts aren’t really that significant compared to others? I experience it from time to time, and here’s my story of a recent example. (more…)

Read More

How Are You Doing With Who You Are?

Who you are is stable, enduring, consistent, lasting, set from an early age, highly influenced by nature.

How you are doing with who you are is variable, inconsistent, temporary, fleeting, and highly influenced by your choices.

Knowing the difference is one of the strongest indicators of maturity.

Confusing these two is the slippery slope to a life lacking clarity, purpose, responsibility, balance, and satisfaction. (more…)

Read More

How To Communicate With People Who Blame Others And Accept No Responsibility

The problem

Some people in distress magically absolve themselves of all responsibility for their behavior and emotions. They blame everybody and everything for what happened, become blameless themselves, and resort to whining and complaining about how difficult and boring everything is. These people have excuses for everything. When things don’t go their way or someone tries to hold them accountable, they lash out vengefully as if it’s your fault they are in trouble. (more…)

Read More

How To Communicate With People Who Manipulate And Create Negative Drama

The problem

In distress some people become major drama kings and queens. They triangulate, manipulate, and turn the tables to create negative drama. It seems they are constantly clamoring for the limelight while stepping on others along the way. They create smoke-screens and diversions to avoid responsibility and somehow manage to escape getting caught. They develop a narcissistic attitude that they are above the law. (more…)

Read More